History

Everything You Should Know About American Revolution

Washington Crossing the DelawarePhoto by Scott A. Wright

The American Revolution was more than a revolt against British trade regulations and taxes – it was the first modern revolution. It was the first time in history that people fought for the independence in the name of certain principles, such as popular sovereignty, constitutional rights, and rule of law. The struggle for independence lasted for many years and took a lot of sacrifice, all in the name of freedom.

There are many causes which triggered the American Revolution. The roots of the American Revolution are traced in 1763, when British leaders started to tighten imperial reins. The Britain and the colonies had harmonious relations which became increasingly conflict-riven. The arrival of British troops and the Britain’s land policy which prohibited settlement in the West irritated colonists. However, one of the most serious problems was the need for money in order to support British empire.

The Townshend Acts, the Stamp Act, and the Sugar Act were attempts to raise money rather than control trade, which met growing resistance in the colonies. After Parliament passed the Coercive Acts, the tensions were increased further. The First Continental Congress made first steps to the independence from Britain. The colonies had to fight a long and bitter war, before they gained independence. During the war, the British had many advantages, such as a bigger, better-trained army and navy as well as many Loyalists who supported the British Empire.

However, there were many white colonists who were alienated by the promise of Lord Dunmore of freedom to slaves who joined the royal army. They were also inspired by Common Sense of Thomas Paine. Tactical errors of British commanders and great leadership of George Washington contributed to the victory of the United States. The aim of the Britain was to crush the rebellion in the North and a few times they almost defeated the Continental Army.

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However, the victories in late 1776 and early 1777 at Princeton and Trenton restored patriot hopes, and victory at Saratoga (which was the advantage of Britain from Canada) led France to intervene on behalf of Americans. Fighting shifted to the South in 1778. British army managed to capture Charleston and Georgia and also defeat American army at Camden. However, bands of patriots disrupted supply lines and harassed loyalists, and Britain didn’t achieve control over the southern countryside before advancing to Yorktown at the north.

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American and French force defeated the British in 1781 at Yorktown, which was the war’s last major battle. The American Revolution left many consequences. About 7,000 Americans died in battle during the American Revolution, another 10,000 died from disease and about 8,000 died in British prisons. During the American Revolution, a quarter of the slaves in Georgia and South Carolina managed to escape. Many Northern states adopted gradual emancipation plans for slaves or outlawed slavery.

The states also adopted written constitutions which increased the legislature’s size and powers, reformed inheritance laws, guaranteed religious freedom, and made taxation more progressive.

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